Committee chair happy with seeds

March, 29, 2010
Duke had the least bumpy ride of any of the four No. 1 seeds even though the Blue Devils ranked third among those teams.

Kentucky had to face West Virginia in a 1-2 matchup in the Elite Eight although Kentucky was the second No. 1 seed and the Mountaineers were the first No. 2 seed.

The difference between Duke's and Syracuse's credentials was minimal yet they were placed in opposite sides of the bracket, which meant Syracuse's Sweet 16 game in Salt Lake City was scheduled against the East Regional Sweet 16 game in Syracuse. The result was poor local attendance as Orange fans stayed home to watch their team.

Could you complain about Northern Iowa as a No. 9 seed playing top-ranked Kansas in the second round? What about Villanova losing five of its last seven and still receiving a No. 2 seed? What about Notre Dame, which wasn't a lock a few weeks prior to the tournament, getting a No. 6 seed? More than most seasons the seeding, not the selections, was a highly debatable issue.

"Just like we planned it," said UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, the committee chair who was watching the East Regional final Saturday at the Carrier Dome. "It's a great tournament, just like we planned it. You do the bracket and move it forward and let the games play out.

"I've said many times that it's like a blank canvas when we take over and then we put the colors on it," Guerrero said. "Actually we put the colors on the palate and let the games play out to be a masterpiece."

Guerrero said he had no issue with Kentucky-West Virginia being the only 1-2 matchup in the Elite Eight.

"We talked about a lot of stuff and as it turned out, it worked out the way it should have [in the East]," Guerrero said. "West Virginia did what it had to do to win, whatever bracket they were in, they plowed through it. They'll be in Indianapolis because they played well."

The art of seeding will become even more crucial for the upcoming committees if there is any form of expansion, be it to 68 or 96. Selections will become less of an issue, but how to seed the teams will be the most pressing problem. The most common expectation is that any form of expansion would lead to pushing down the automatic qualifiers as the 16-seeds into either four opening-round games (if it's 68) or to the 24th line if it goes to 96 with four regions of 24 teams each (the top eight seeds would get a bye).

My money is still on no expansion for the last three seasons of the CBS contract, with the NCAA opting to keep the status quo until there is a new contract. But once there is a new deal for 2014 and beyond, I fully expect some form of expansion.

• Oklahoma's Jeff Capel offered up these notes for what happened to the Sooners this season after OU finished with nine straight losses, 13-18 overall and 4-12 in the Big 12 a season removed from the Blake Griffin era.

"Freshmen accounted for 47 percent of our points," Capel said in a text. And the freshmen on the Sooners weren't DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall or Eric Bledsoe. Inexperience with only two seniors, one junior who played 14 minutes a game the previous season, and two sophomores led to the erratic play. Having the Sooners be overhyped to start the season didn't help, either. Willie Warren, who was battling illness and injuries for most of the season, was predicted to be a preseason player of the year. Meanwhile, the offseason is off to a rocky start as Tommy Mason-Griffin and Ray Willis announced they were leaving OU.

• Look for daily announcements of players declaring for the NBA draft. The fear of a lockout in 2011 and the tighter window to make a decision -- April 25 to May 8 -- will flood the early entry list.

• The NCAA said that there will be some tweaking of Butler's host responsibilities. This is the first time that anyone at the NCAA can remember a host school actually being in the Final Four.

• Having Butler in the Final Four will free up some hotel space in Indianapolis since the Bulldogs as the West Regional champs can elect to stay at home.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer




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